Monday, March 21, 2011

Cake Cornbread

I love this cornbread recipe. It's great with a hearty soup, or a nice salad. It's so moist, it tastes like cake. If you have a grinder that will grind popcorn, I hightly reccomend it, it is great! I've also done this recipe with 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat with great results.

Corn Bread

1/2 Cup butter
2/3 Cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 Cup sour milk **see note**
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Cup cornmeal
1 Cup all purpouse flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey

*For sour milk-- In glass measuring cup, pour in 1 TBS. white vinegear, add milk until it reaches one cup. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and quickly whisk in the eggs, sugar, honey, milk and baking soda until there are no lumps. Mix in the cornmeal, flour and salt until most lumps are gone. Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan, bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Do not over-cook. I usually double the recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan.

Chicken Vegetable Teriyaki

This recipe is one of my new favorites. So easy, and healthy, my kids will even eat it. Add any vegetables you have handy. I serve this over rice. One of my favorite food blogs recently had a recipe for teriyaki sauce, next time I'll try it. Bottled is great though!!!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken, cut into strips
4 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced on a thin diagonal
1/2 yellow pepper cut into strips
1 cup sugar snap peas, end snapped off
1 cup broccoli pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
3-4 TBS. teriyaki sauce
1 TBS. cornstarch
1/2 cup of water

Mix cornstarch in water, set aside. Over medium heat, in pan sprayed with non-stick spray, cook garlic for 1 minute. Add chicken, cook until light brown. Add vegetables, cook until fork tender. Add broth and teriyaki sauce. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Turn heat up to medium again, add cornstarch mixture and stir very well. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until sauce has thickened. Serve over rice.

Bobby and I

Alright, I have said that I'm not going to post pictures on this blog. I'll admit to you, my blog stalking friends, the real reason behind this. I am HORRIBLE at taking pictures. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. Even with a pretty nice camera, I am the one cutting heads off people, or making peoples' coloring look like they've been dead for a week.
With food, using all the senses is essential. Let me share a recent experience. Last Monday I come home and Bobby Flay is cooking in my kitchen, wearing my favorite apron. After I regained consciousness and fixed my lipstick, I smell something amazing....chocolate chip cookies, french bread, fillet broiling in butter..... I sit down, Bobby Flay winks at me and starts to the table carrying a platter. I can't quite see what is on it, but hey, it's Bobby Flay right? He sets it down in front of me, I open my eyes, my mouth starts to water, something that resembles...... a raccoon ran over by a truck. Hm.. yeah, Ok, not what I expected. It smelled so good...... it's Bobby Flay...... what the ##$%#!
This experience was so traumatizing for Bobby and I, we got in a huge fight. But the moral of the story is, food has to smell good, look good, have a good texture, be the right temperature etc.....I am so worried I'll take pictures of my recipes and they will look like, well, dead raccoon.
Anyways, I'm going to start practicing my photography skills, and hopefully soon, be including pics with my recipes. I'll also share my killer recipe for raccoon. :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tortilla Time

I love tortillas. As a kid, my cousins and I would place tortillas directly on my Grandmas gas range to heat them up. We'd eat them hot and slathered in butter, it was tortilla heaven. I tried it on my smooth top range..... yeah, not the same. A few years ago, I started making my own tortillas, impressed? Ha ha, don't be; it is shockingly easy. I love to take an afternoon, make a bunch, freeze them, and have tortilla goodness whenever I want it. I'll share my tortilla recipe, and some of my favorite ways to use tortillas. If you don't want to adventure into making your own, that's ok, the recipes will still be fab.

Whole Wheat tortillas (adapted from

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 + 1/4 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/4 Cup canola oil
2/3 Cup VERY hot water

Mix all ingredients in mixer. Mix until a dough ball forms. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes. Uncover and form into balls, a little larger than a golf ball. Cover with damp cloth and let rest 15 minutes to 1 hour. On floured surface, flatten and roll out. Cook on hot griddle, turning once when bubbles form. On the second side, only cook briefly. These cook fast, be careful not to overcook.

Baked Tortilla Chips

Tortillas (I use my wheat recipe)
Pam or another non-stick cooking spray (I like butter flavor.)
Spice of your choice- I like garlic blends like Johns spice.

Preheat oven to 350. Place 2 tortillas on top of one another. Using pizza cutter, cut the tortillas in half vertically, then in half horizontally, then cut each quarter in half again. You should now have 8 wedges per tortilla. Continue until you have as many as you want. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Arrange tortillas wedges on cookie sheet, do not overlap. Spray tortillas evenly with non-stick spray, then sprinkle with spice of choice. I sprinkle liberally. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Baked Cinnamon Tortilla Chips with Fruit Salsa

*Baked Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:

Prepare tortilla chips the same as above, but instead GENEROUSLY sprinkle cinnamon sugar. I also turn chips over, spray, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the other side. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

* Fruit Salsa (adapted from Worldwide Ward Cookbook)

3 kiwis peeled and diced
2 firm apples peeled and diced
1 lb fresh or frozen strawberries, diced (thawed)
1 small pkg. fresh or frozen rasperies (thawed)
2 TBS granulated sugar
1 TBS brown sugar
4 TBS fruit preserves, I like peach

In large bowl, mix all ingredients. Cover and chill in for at least 20 minutes.

Heidi and Daves Most Amazing Enchilada Sauce- adapted from Americas Test Kitchen.

1 TBS. canola oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 TBS. chili powder (depending on spice prefrence)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sugar
1/2 Cup water
2 (8) ounce cans tomato sauce
pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt, cook until softened. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Breing to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. makes about 2 1/2 cups. Can be doubled.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 batch Heidi and Daves enchilada sauce
10 medium size tortillas (I use my wheat recipe!)

Heat oven to 350. Mix the chicken, black beans and half of enchilada sauce. Warm tortillas on paper towel covered plate in microwave for 30 seconds. Place chicken mixture in tortillas, sprinkle with cheese, then roll up. Place seem side down in greased 9x13 baking dish. Pour remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over tortillas. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until bubbling.

Baked Chicken and Black Bean Nachos

1 recipe baked tortilla chips
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
Fat free sour cream (I like the one that looks like a cow.)

Heat oven to broiler mode. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Pile chips onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle cheese evenly. Then sprinkle chicken and black beans, sprinkle a little more cheese. Broil, watching carefully, until cheese melts and is bubbly. Take out, top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My favorite Pasta Sauce

Ok, I'm going to beg, BEG you blog stalkers out there to never buy pasta sauce from a jar again. I will not judge you if you insist, but at least try this sauce, it will rock your world . I got this recipe from my good friend Traci, it is so adaptable and easy, and EASY is my middle name. FYI, this sauce is perfect for hiding vegetables. Yeah, you heard me. First I'll give you the basic sauce, and variations I like.

Traci's Pasta Sauce

1 TBS. dried minced onion
1 TBS. dried Parsley
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp instant garlic, or 1-2 cloves fresh minced
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
(2) 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce
(1) 6 ounce can tomato paste
(1) can diced tomato
3/4 cup water or tomato juice

Put water and diced tomato in blender and puree. Make sure it equals 2 3/4 cups. If not, add more water. Pour into saucepan, add remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour. This can be simmered longer if needed.

**For a Meat sauce, I simply brown and break up 1/2 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage, drain any excess fat, then add ingredients as above.

**For a super veggie sauce, I saute one finely diced yellow or red sweet bell pepper in a little olive oil. When I puree the tomato and water, I also add 2 or 3 baby carrots. Believe me, NO ONE WILL NOTICE! It's a good way to get some extra vegetables.

I put this on Spaghetti, Ravioli, Penne.....or use it in a baked pasta with some Mozzarella on top. If you find it too acidic, add a little more sugar, or some red wine vinegar. Also, this sauce freezes well, just let it cool, place it in a gallon freezer bag, and voila, pasta goodness whenever!

Super Smoothie

I LOVE smoothies. I do not love when my $400.00 Vitamix breaks. So even though I'm in mourning, I will still share my favorite smoothie recipe. Don't be scared by the ingredients, *ahem* or the color!

Super smoothie

2 handfuls of raw baby spinach, washed.
2 baby carrots
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 TBS honey
1 TBS vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
1-2 cups frozen fruit blend (I like the one with pineapple, mango, and strawberry.)

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend away! You may have to add more liquid or ice depending on your preference for the consistency of your smoothie. This smoothie is very green, sweet, and full of vitamins.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sexy Chicken Sausage with Veggies

Sexy you say? Veggies? Ok, let me share the reason for this scandalous name. Trust me, it's PG my friends. Anywhoo, I made this dish for my Father in law, who loved it. He has an endearing quirk for calling everyday things sexy, hence the name. See, PG. I like to use chicken sausage, particularly chicken sausage with garlic and mozzarella, you can find it pretty much anywhere now.

Sexy Chicken Sausage with Veggies
Serves 4

3 chicken sausage with garlic and mozzarella (this is pre-cooked by the way.)
1 red pepper, membrane removed and sliced into strips
1 yellow pepper, membrane removed and sliced into strips
1/2 of a large onion thinly sliced
4 mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
10 sugar snap peas, washed and ends snapped

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium low heat. Cut sausage on a bias, it looks prettier this way :-) Increase heat to medium, add sausage and heat until browned on both sides. Stir the sausage, add vegetables and two tablespoons of water. Cover to let the vegetables steam for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, stir and continue to cook until desired doneness of the vegetables. I personally like them a little crisp :-) I serve this over my favorite rice.

A spinach salad named Guilt

This salad is a tasty accompaniment to guilt inducing foods such as pizza, or a juicy steak. It is fabulous! Even the spinach haters in my life will eat it.

4 cups baby spinach (make sure it has been washed and dried.)
1/2 cup almonds (I like oven roasted with sea salt.)
1/2 craisins
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon

Dijon mustard

For the dressing, I measure 1 TBS of honey in a measuring cup. I then add the mustard and stir until well incorporated and a good consistency to pour. Set aside. (I always start out with this much dressing, to try to keep it as low calorie as possible, but if you need more, make more!)

For salad, place spinach in bowl, add dressing. Toss until all leaves are coated. If you prefer more dressing, now is the time to make it. When the spinach is coated, add the other ingredients, toss gently and enjoy!!!

This salad is my own creation, and I have also played with different additions like mandarin orange segments, grapes, apples, or a little blue cheese.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rice rice baby.

All right stop, collaborate and listen.......If you don't like, or haven't tried rice pudding, try this recipe. It is creamy rice heaven, minus the cheesy white rapper.

Rice Pudding

4 cups milk
1/2 cup regular long-grain rice
1/2 sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 & 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In saucepan, combine milk, rice, sugar, and salt. Heat to boiling over medium high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring a little, until rice is VERY tender, about an hour.

In small bowl, beat the egg, stir in 1/2 cup of hot rice mixture. Slowly pour egg mixture back into rice mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Serve warm, or chill for 3 hours. I like it chilled. Makes 4 cups. I like this with a little Carmel sauce, or whipped cream.

Here we go!

I wanted to start my blog with one of my favorite things to make, whole wheat bread. I know bread making scares some people, but after a little practice, whole grain goodness look out! I do grind my own wheat, and I'll tell you the reason why. Fresh ground grains have the highest nutritional content. Commercial whole wheat flour has added preservatives and can be stripped of most of the nutrients to make it shelf stable. If you don't have a grinder, or live by someone who does, buy it at the store. Just make sure to buy a good quality brand. Ok.... enough about that. I'm far from a tree hugger, but I do believe whole grain is best when possible.
Ok, a little more information before the recipe. ........Years back, red wheat was the standard for whole wheat bread. It made a dense, brick-like loaf. No thanks! Now a hybrid, hard WHITE wheat is available, and man, it is amazing. It makes a deliciously soft, melt on the roof of your mouth loaf. When you bake this bread, the smell will intoxicate you. You'll be thinner, your kids will behave better, and your husband will want to clean the bathroom. (Ok, maybe not those things, but the smell thing was spot on.) Welcome to my food planet!

Whole Wheat Bread (one loaf, can be tripled)

1 & 1/4 Cups Hot Water....approx. 11o degrees F
2 TBS canola oil
3 Cups Approx. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. Dough Enhancer
2 TBS. honey
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast
2 TBS. Gluten

In Kitchen Aid or other mixer, add water, oil, and honey. Mix 2 cups of the flour, enhancer, salt, gluten and salt. Add flour mixture to water mixture. Turn mixer on with dough hook attached. Mix, adding additional flour just until dough pulls away from the side. This may be a different amount every time you make bread, depending on the humidity etc. At this point, mix bread with the dough hook for 7-14 minutes or so, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in large greased bowl, covered, until doubled. Take out of bowl, shape into loaf, and place in greased loaf pan. Allow to rise again, until doubled. Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown. Take out of pan immediately, cool on rack.